Five Non-Physical Behaviors of an Abusive Partner
When people describe their exes as “crazy,” a lot of people take it as a sign that the person describing their exes is an asshole. Personally, if I ever describe an ex as crazy, I literally mean that they were abusive or manipulative. I only have two official exes and both of them were good people, however, during this current casual dating phase in my life, I have managed to encounter people who exhibit toxic, manipulative behaviors.
If you are dating someone, whether it be romantically or casually, and they begin to behave in these manners, it is time to cut them loose.
- Passive-Aggression — I haven’t been in a romantic relationship in almost two years, but I’ve casually dated people for extended periods of time. One of the people I was with would always drop passive-aggressive jabs rather than just explaining his feelings. “Miss you” slowly began turning into “it’d be nice if you made time for me this week,” and whenever we’d have arguments, every grievance he had bottled up exploded out in a very ugly manner. It’s important for one to vocalize their grievances when they’re upset, therefore, their disdain towards one’s habits doesn’t increase over time.
- Invalidating your feelings- Different people have different styles of humor, and I understand that, but one time, the person I was casually dating made a tasteless joke about self-harm. I told him “As someone who had a self-harm problem at age 17, I don’t find that funny. Please don’t make those kind of jokes,” to which he responded “I was self-harming at age 14, get in line, Alex.” I was very upset at his response. I was hoping he would apologize, but he essentially told me that I had no right to be upset due to the fact that his mental health problems emerged at a younger age. Mental health isn’t a pissing contest and self-harming at a young age is nothing to have a superiority complex about.
- Codependency- I had always planned on moving to New York or Los Angeles after college, however, once I graduated and reality set in, I decided that the best thing to do would be to stick it out in Dallas for a year or two, save money, build my credit, make a name for myself, and then relocate. I explained this to the person I was casually seeing, to which he responded, “Okay, good, I didn’t want you to leave so soon.” I had a lot of questions after he said this. I asked myself “What is that supposed to mean? I’m not his boyfriend, I don’t owe him shit. Is he that emotionally reliant on me that if I were to immediately relocate, he’d be upset with me for not putting aside my goals and dreams for someone I didn’t even really love romantically?” I did let him know that if I were to get a job offer with a nice relocation package, I’d take it in a heartbeat, to which he responded “That’s fine, I get it,” but he didn’t really seem to encourage me to go after what I want.
- Making you do things you don’t want to do— I’ll spare the NSFW details as best as I can, but before you enter a relationship, whether it be casual, romantic, or strictly sexual, you need to establish boundaries. This is something I always do, however, some people aren’t always respectful of them. There were times when I refused to do certain things the person wanted me to do, to which he would respond “You’re an adult, stop being a pussy,” or “If you were a real man, you’d do it.” Fortunately, he respected my boundaries, however, he did so in a begrudging manner.
- Threatening to end their life- While he never threatened to kill himself, he did always imply that he wanted to die. On multiple occasions, he would call me at two in the morning under the influence of drugs, and he would suggest that I was the reason he took them. This would keep me up all night worrying, and while I would never find anyone’s mental health to be a burden, my mental health was beginning to decline. I wanted to end our arrangement, but I was afraid he would take his life. Luckily, our casual arrangement ended without him ever flat-out threatening to kill himself, but I realize some people in these situations aren’t as fortunate. I don’t know the best course of action to go about handling this kind of scenario, but the best advice I could offer would be to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255.
I am very fortunate to have gotten out of this arrangement unscathed. I realize that cutting off an abusive partner is a lot easier said than done, however, it is important to keep an eye out for these red flags. Even if someone doesn’t hit you, their behaviors can affect your mental health. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.